Real Estate Investing is the craze today with people involved in the Carlton Sheets program spending money on courses to find out how they can make money in no money down real estate investing. This article hopes to help you create some sort of mental picture of five key principles that can help you make more money with real estate today.Principle #1- The money is made in the purchaseReal estate investing is like value investing in stocks and you want to purchase the real estate during a period of a real estate slump. The reason for this is so that you can get a huge capital appreciation when the real estate market heats up again.Spending time doing real estate valuation is critical since if you cannot satisfy yourself on the maths that is a viable proposition, there is no way that your real estate investment would be a good one.Principle #2- Monitor Cash flowReal Estate investment typically have a monthly rental income which then is used to pay for mortgage instalments and other problems with the building like a roof leak. You would thus have to keep a close watch on interest rate hikes since they can potentially erode any calculated return on investment quite quickly. Once you have enough cash coming in, it is suggested that you then keep some of it in a rainy day fund in case some of the rental tenants do not renew their property and then take the rest and consider investing in another real estate investment property.Principle #3- Leverage on other people’s timeRemember that no one can do everything, so the key is to focus on what you do best. If your strength is in negotiating deals, spend time looking for property and then get professionals and contractors to handle all the rest of the deal for you. Similarly, if you are good at decorating property, then find deals and focus on the interior design of the property. By focusing on what you do best and getting other people to do the rest of the work, you are leveraging on their time and you can then make more money from each new real estate investment that you undertake. Spend your time to build your team of advisors and employees who work for you and you will see your profits start going up. Remember that by rewarding them financially, you will get a group of dedicated people helping you make more money from your real estate investment.Principle #4- Learn how to use leverage with a good rainy day cash balanceDid you know that many real estate investors started off with very little money to invest? Even large real estate developers like Donald Trump have learnt the power of leverage when investing in property deals. You want to leverage as much as you can so that you can control property worth many times more than what you own. Remember however to keep a rainy day fund containing a portion of the rental payments so that you can hedge yourself against a possible period where unit occupancy of your real estate investment is low. Leverage when used well can make you lots of money but if managed badly, will bankrupt you. Thus planning your cash flow and learning how to use debt is critical before you start serious real estate investment.Principle #5- Spend time networking with real estate professionalsDo you want the latest real estate investment deals? The best way to learn of them is to break into the local real estate professional group and make friends with them. Learn some real estate investment lingo and spend time making friends with them because they are your eyes and ears on the ground and they can tell you about recent developments and changes in rental, property and infrastructure of their geographical location. Having the first player advantage is what many large real estate investors have and by spending time to network with real estate brokers, you will substantially close the gap.In conclusion, spend time looking at these five principles and determine how they can be applied to your real estate investment and you might start seeing an increase in your real estate income.By Joel Teo 2006 All Rights Reserved
Between stocks and real estate, most investors tend to stick to one type of investment or the other, depending on what they are comfortable with. But the only issues that should matter when considering an investment is what kind of “true” return on investment can I get verses what is my risk to earn that return. Hands down, real estate is far superior to stocks in terms of both high ROI and security.Before we begin this discussion, it is important that I point out the major mistake made by just about every other writer who has ever written on this subject; in every comparison of stocks to real estate, either the Dow or S&P values are used as the basis of measuring stocks’ performance, however it is rarely mentioned that the Dow is a select sample group of only 30 stocks and that the original companies of the Dow are not the same as the present companies that make up the Dow Jones. Recently General Motors (GM), along with government bailed out Citigroup, were dropped from the Dow because they both fell below $5/share, and they were replaced by Cisco Systems ($20/share) and Travelers ($40/share). The real estate equivalent of this would be to choose a portfolio of properties in the beginning and then removing a poorly-performing shack from the collection and replacing it’s valuation with a stronger performing Trump Tower. Such a practice makes it impossible to truly measure the performance of the stock market, however it is clear that whatever gains can be measured are “slightly” inflated, if not completely overstated.Now that we understand the shortcomings of prior comparative analyses, we will choose to use the S&P 500, despite the previous discussion, with the understanding that this provides a slight advantage to stocks, for we will show that real estate is still superior, even in a comparison favoring stocks. There is an abundance of circumstantial evidence all around us for this fact. The most significant and lucrative investment most people make is their primary residence. 85 to 90% of the wealthiest individuals in the world built and hold their wealth in real estate.What specific ways does investing in apartments and rental properties help us multiply our money faster? There are 4 major ways:
Appreciation. This the gross increase in valuation of the asset. When the stock price increases to a higher value or likewise, when a house increases in value, appreciation is the profit from this change in valuation. Of course, a decrease in value is also possible in both types of assets, and the result of this is negative appreciation. This is the aspect that is most often focused on by previous comparisons. However, despite being the most important income with investing in stocks, appreciation is the least important of the ways of making money in real estate. Individuals who focus on appreciation in real estate are not investors, but speculators, many of whom were the hardest hit because of the burst of the housing bubble.
Depreciation. This refers to an estimation of the “loss” of valuation of investment real estate as a result of deterioration or obsolescence. The wear and tear is not tabulated from a list of specific damages, but rather takes the cost of the asset and spreads this cost over the legally estimated useful “lifetime” of the asset, 27.5 years in the case of residential property. When running your real estate investing as a business, this tax deduction can be huge, along with tax-deductable expenses, in offsetting income and legally decreasing your tax liability. There is no equivalent to this in offsetting capital gains from stock income.
Amortization. This refers to the building of equity in a property as the mortgage on it is paid off over time. This is another way of expressing the advantage of leverage in investing in real estate-the ability to buy an asset with only 3 to 25% of the purchase price and pay the rest off over time, preferably using the asset’s own income, is unheard of in the world of stocks.
Cash Flow. This has to be the sweetest money from your real estate investment; after all expenses, this is what is left over to go straight into your hip pocket. This is analogous to stock dividends, however the company in which you hold stock has the ultimate decision as to whether they will offer you a dividend, and they can change this decision without consulting minor stockholders. A properly structured real estate investment will provide positive cash flow FOREVER. And, again, if you run your investment as a business, this passive income will not be subject to self-employment tax.
About the only clear advantage that stocks have demonstrated over real estate is the relatively greater liquidity that is provided by having a ready market of buyers. However, the knowledgeable and experienced real estate investor understands this, and the investor builds a list of buyers and recruits real estate agents and brokers onto his or her team for this very reason. Even in a tough market, as exists today, investors are able to move property and maintain liquidity.In addition, the clear and widely acknowledged advantage that real estate investments have over stocks-the ability to leverage your money and credit to buy the asset and the tax advantages and other streams of income benefiting owners of rental properties-are often greatly underestimated and understated. The accumulated tax savings and other hidden income streams when added up is a more than significant amount of money; all the annual tax write-offs translates into more money to leverage and reinvest into more income-producing real estate, and this cycle of reinvesting is the process that will multiply your investment money at a rate that the best stock can never hope to keep up with.
Real estate professionals have been urging property investors to get in quick to purchase investment property and beat the rush as cashed up baby boomers transfer their wealth from the stock market to the real estate market. This may seem like a reasonable claim as many Australians; especially those around retirement age feel that they understand real estate as in investment. It is something that they can see and touch where as the stock market is something that works in mysterious ways that they do not fully understand. The decline in share prices across the globe over the last 18 months has entrenched this position and there is a desire to protect what is left of their retirement savings rather than being burnt by further declines in the stock market.However based on the latest lending data the anticipated increase in property investments is yet to materialise. Rather than real estate investors it is first time owner occupiers who are racing into the market helped in part by government stimulus spending. So why are real estate investors not doing the same? There are a number of reasons why investors may not be entering the property market.Tougher lending criteria
As a result of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) banks have been setting higher hurdles for investors (and owner occupiers) to qualify for a mortgage. No deposit loans which are in part blamed for causing the sub-prime crisis are increasingly rare with many lenders looking for a minimum 20% deposit and proven lending history before providing mortgage finance. With funding harder to come by there will be investors who wish to purchase property but are unable to do so. It has been suggested that these more stringent lending standards will help protect the Australian real estate market from suffering the kind of falls that have been seen in the US and UK property markets. In reality it will be the banks providing the mortgage finance that are protected by the tougher lending criteria not the real estate investors. If an investor or owner occupier finds they are unable to meet mortgage loan repayments because of unemployment or rising interest rates a gearing level (percentage of debt compared to the value of the property) at 80% or lower is not going to provide any assistance. The tougher lending criteria will mean that should the bank need to sell the property to recover the amount it had lent in mortgage finance they will still be able to recover the full loan amount even if they need to sell at a large discount to the original purchase price, either because the real-estate market has fallen or they want to recover their money quickly.Loss of equity
The magnitude and speed of the downturn in equity markets has wiped out trillions of dollars in shareholder equity (The ASX All Ords index fell more than 40% in 12 months). Until the start of the Global Recession stock markets around the world had enjoyed significant gains year on year back as far as the tech wreck of the early 2000s. Investors had been able to invest in the share market and take profits to fund real estate acquisitions. In a financial double whammy these investors now find themselves not only without a source of investment income but have also having to provide cash to cover margin calls on loans secured on their share portfolio. With many shares at rock bottom fire sale prices many investors would be reluctant to sell and may therefore look to sell their investment property to raise funds, raising the possibility of a falling real estate market.Job security fears
Despite record low interest rates and rising rents many investment properties are still negatively geared (net rental income after real estate agent fees does not cover mortgage repayments and other costs meaning that the investor has to cover the shortfall in the hope that this will be repaid in the form of capital growth). With rising unemployment some real-estate investors may have already lost their jobs and finding themselves unable to cover their existing mortgage shortfall they are forced to sell the property, again raising the possibility of a falling real estate market. Other investors may not have lost their jobs but the possibility of being out of work may make them hesitant about taking on additional liabilities that will need to be serviced.Uncertain profits
Most real estate investors are investing to make a capital gain (i.e. to sell the property at a profit at some time in the future). In the last 12 months the property market has at best been flat or has been falling. The real estate industry has been quick to call the bottom of the market but as real estate agents have a vested interest in this being true many investors are sceptical about this advice especially as these claims have been made many times before. It is true that there has been an increase in demand at the bottom end of the market driven in part by government stimulus payments to first home buyers however this effect is likely to be temporary. Other evidence such as rising unemployment and reduced availability of mortgage finance suggests that the real estate market is likely to head lowerPotentially larger gains elsewhere
Despite the worsening economic outlook some forecasters are claiming the equity markets have bottomed. Share markets around the globe have rallied in recent weeks with many more than 10% up off their lows. Not all investors have been frightened away from investing their money. Some heed Warren Buffett’s advice to be “fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful” Any cashed up investors with a strong appetite for risk will be tempted by gains that may be larger than the lacklustre performance expected from the real estate market.Over the last decade it seemed that all one needed to do was borrow money and buy shares or property to make a profit, many were fooled into thinking that they were wise investors by these easy gains. Unfortunately this debt fuelled spending could not last and like any bubble it had to burst resulting in the economic melt down and Global Recession that we see today. The GFC has both reduced investor’s ability to purchase new investments and their appetite for risk. Many will prefer to hold cash or bonds until the markets become less volatile and a capital gain looks more assured.Worldwide investors have lost billions of dollars by placing their money in investments that they did not fully understand. There was an expectation that investors would switch to real estate as an investment that is tangible and easily understood. But the latest data shows that the rush of real estate investors is yet to materialise. Why?